Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Homes Sales Gain Biggest in 30 Years

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes recorded their biggest increase in nearly 33-1/2 years in October, suggesting the housing market recovery remains intact despite higher mortgage rates.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales jumped 25.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 444,000 units. It also said new home sales fell 6.6 percent in September.

The strong rise in new home sales, which are measured when contracts are signed, suggested higher mortgage rate had not derailed the housing market recovery.

Strong new home sales in October saw the stock of houses on the market falling 3.7 percent after touching their highest level in nearly three years in September. Despite the tight supply of properties, the median price of a new home slipped 0.6 percent from a year-ago.

At October's sales pace it would take 4.9 months to clear the houses on the market, down from 6.4 months in September. A supply of 6.0 months is normally considered as a healthy balance between supply and demand.

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